News: Five Hawaii Marines recognized by city of Kailua for outstanding service
Story by Cpl. Reece Lodder
KAILUA, Hawaii -- Five Marines from 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, were recognized for their recent achievements at the Kailua Chamber of Commerce’s general membership meeting at the Mid Pacific Country Club in Kailua, Hawaii, May 18, 2011.
Standing smartly in their service uniforms in front of a room packed with local business owners, realtors and politicians, the Marines received gift bags to honor their accomplishments. The chamber’s president, Puna Nam, honored their success and saluted their service as part of the statewide military appreciation month.
“The base is an integral part of the Windward community,” Nam said. “The Marines have always reached out to us, and we want to do the same. Recognizing them gives us a chance to stop and think about what they’ve done for our country. It’s an honor to have an opportunity to understand what they’re going through, and it helps us realize the sacrifices they are making.”
Sgt. Kenney Clark, a squad leader with India Company, 3/3, was among the five Marines honored. Clark, from Rushville, Ill., was recently selected as Marine of the Quarter for all of 3rd Marine Division and meritoriously promoted to sergeant.
“This presentation shows other Marines that the local community is welcoming us into their home,” Clark said. “It’s good for Marines to see that we’re welcomed here, and that we can come out and mingle with the locals."
In addition to Clark, the four other Marines recognized were all from 3/3, and deployed with the battalion to Afghanistan in 2010 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Miami native Cpl. Raymond P. Weeks, an intelligence specialist with Headquarters and Service Company, 3/3, recently received the National Military Intelligence Association’s 2011 Col. Donald G. Cook Award, and the 2011 Marine Corps Intelligence Awards Program’s Master Sergeant Charles C. Arndt Noncommissioned Officer of the Year award.
Sgt. Jorge Diaz, a squad leader with Kilo Company, 3/3, from Baltimore, was presented a Bronze Star Medal with Combat V last month by Lt. Gen. Kenneth J. Glueck, Jr., commanding general, III Marine Expeditionary Force. Diaz received the award for heroic achievement in connection with combat operations against the enemy during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Sept. 17, 2010.
Staff Sgt. Justin Johnson, a motor transport mechanic with 3/3, from East Liverpool, Ohio, was recently selected at the Marine Corps’ Motor Transport Maintenance Chief of the Year.
Weeks’ supervisor, Gunnery Sgt. Alan King, intelligence chief, 3/3, from Newport, Wash., was recently named the 2011 Master Gunnery Sgt. Samuel C. Plott Staff Non-commissioned Officer of the Year within the Marine Corps intelligence community.
King said being recognized by the Marine Corps and the community was humbling, and that their involvement with each other solidifies the relationship between the two sides.
“The local community is willing to recognize that the base does a lot of things to help them out, and now we see what the community is doing to take care of the base and our Marines,” King said. “It’s a win-win for the Marines and the community.”
Before the Marines returned to their seats, the dining chamber members showed their gratitude by standing and applauding the Marines’ service.
Though the community recognized the Marines during a month celebrating military personnel, Nam said residents of Kailua are working to become more frequent in acknowledging their military brethren.
“A continual, year-round recognition of the Marines’ successes adds more notoriety and impetus to the business and residents in Kailua,” Nam said. “This allows them to recognize military personnel that serve here and visit their businesses, and not just during the month of May.”